Therese Hadchity, Lost in translation: Reflections on contemporary Barbadian art and the migration of criticality
Lost in translation: Reflections on contemporary Barbadian art and the migration of criticality For the past decade, the discourse on visual art in the Anglophone Caribbean has predominantly been informed by a position which seeks to avoid the ‘commodification’ or ‘politicization’ of meaning by departing from the notion of ‘locality’. It refuses ‘the Caribbean’ as an interpretive lens and focuses instead on the fluidity of the diasporic experience, on hybridity, liminality and perpetually deferred meaning. Arguing against this trend, my paper proposes that the cultivation of the ‘in-between’ be replaced with greater attention to the complexity of the ‘here’ and the ‘there’. Rather than surrendering the meaning and implications of locality altogether, it identifies, and holds up as significant, those slippages of critical inflection which take place in the transition from the local to the transnational. The paper will examine the aesthetic dispositions and reception of contemporary Barbadian artists Ewan Atkinson, Alicia Alleyne and Sheena Rose against a briefly sketched Barbadian art history. It will show how artistic gestures, which register as critical and counter-hegemonic in a particular historical context, may be altered or even reversed when approached from a different geographical and temporal position. Biography: Therese Hadchity is an independent art critic, curator, teacher and PhD candidate based in Barbados. She was the owner/curator of the Zemicon Gallery in Bridgetown from 2000-2010, during which period the gallery hosted over 100 solo- and group exhibitions. She has authored numerous catalogue-essays on Barbadian art and artists, including Ras Akyem Ramsay, Ras Ishi Butcher, Nick Whittle, Winston Kellman, Ewan Atkinson and Alison Chapman-Andrews. Her current research interest is in the impact of the transition from anti-colonial nationalism to post-colonial anti-nationalism on visual arts conversations in the Anglophone Caribbean. Some images, sounds or other media used in the following presentation are subject to copyright restrictions that prevent them being shown. In order to provide a complete record of the conference, these items have been blurred or silenced. Should we obtain permission to use these images, sounds and other media in the future the films will be updated.